Importance of Sleep and Good Eating Habits


Photo by Heidi Garcia Photography.

Take a moment to think about what was the last thing you ate for lunch at school. Was it a sandwich? Chicken? Ice cream? Or maybe nothing at all? Now think about how much sleep you got last night. Did you reach the recommended amount of 9 hours? Probably not, right?

We get it. You’ve been anxiously writing your latest English assignment, maybe procrastinating here and there, and you couldn’t care less about anything else. But perhaps it’s time you sat down and started organizing your eating and sleeping habits, before you go to college.

Students are simply able to learn better when they’re well nourished. Eating healthy meals leads to higher grades, better memory, alertness, and faster information processing. According to Options for Youth, foods that are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, such as eggs, yogurt, apples, and oatmeal provide your body with enough energy to focus and stay alert throughout the entire day.

So, what kind of food should you eat? Well, eating food from every color of the rainbow is a good idea.

During adolescence, youths slowly take over responsibility for their own eating habits, health attitudes, and behaviours. It is important to take this seriously, because you need to have healthy lifelong habits in order to lead a long, balanced life.

Meal skipping, especially breakfast, is a common habit, according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. As also shown in the study, girls showed a high consumption of sweets, while boys showed a high consumption of soft drinks.

The research concluded that higher number of meals per day, regular breakfast consumption, higher intake of fish, lower consumption of meat and meat products, sweetened foods and drinks etc., would result in long term positive impacts on dietary habits.

Another aspect that should be considered is the lack of sleep students are getting. Students often have a natural desire to sleep later than their designated wake-up time.

Adolescents who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and problems with attention and behavior. The recommended amount of sleep for high school students is 9 to 9.5 hours each night. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 out of 10 teenagers don’t reach that amount on school nights.

Although many students get little sleep on weekdays and oversleep on weekends, it is wise to keep a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week. This means going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning.

Another factor that causes students difficulty in falling asleep is their exposure to light and technology in the evenings. It’s very tempting to stay up all night binge watching shows on your phone. But try to finish your work early so you can watch these shows earlier, and do something not related to technology an hour or so before bed. Or even better, watch these shows during the weekend or on vacation.

Additionally, don’t procrastinate too much! Yes, you must have heard this a thousand times. Yes, none of you are ever going to listen. But it wouldn’t hurt to tell you again, right? You can secretly procrastinate a little, but try to get most of your work done before it’s too late. Maybe your parents can get an app to restrict certain websites if you lack self-control in this area.

As a student, you still have time to change your habits. Don’t wait until it’s absolutely necessary to focus on your health. Your health is important, and the right choices can help you lead a successful and balanced life.